A new parliament will soon be elected in Russia. The websites of many opposition politicians and the media are blocked – authorities are now also blocking tools that can bypass these blockages.
Moscow (dpa) – Russia further restricts internet use and has blocked six protected network connection (VPN) providers. Blocked websites can be accessed with such VPN connections.
Media monitoring authority Roskomnadzor wants to prevent this, according to a statement released on Friday. Virtual private networks promote “illegal activities” such as drug trafficking, extremism and child pornography, says the Russian authority.
Thousands of websites have been blocked in Russia, many of them by members of the opposition, but also by independent and critical media. The authorities justify the bans by violating Russian laws. Critics, on the other hand, complain about censorship. Freedom of expression in the largest country in the world in terms of land area is increasingly restricted.
According to IT experts, among the blocked VPN providers, all based abroad, the most popular in Russia are ExpressVPN and NordVPN. However, there are many other companies that offer such services. Russia had previously banned the use of VPN networks to bypass blocked websites in 2017.
A good three months ago, the use of two providers was restricted. After that, according to the research of the daily “Kommersant”, the prices of VPN tunnel connections increased significantly. Experts attributed this to higher demand. In Russia, a new parliament will be elected in just over two weeks. The authorities have recently stepped up their actions against members of the opposition and those who think differently.